Sunday, October 14, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: VOICE OF THE PATS PHIL ANDREWS

Welcome to October!

Recovery Month in September is behind us but as you hopefully all know by now, the Recovery beat goes on. It's a 24/7, 365-day, 12-month job but IT'S SO WORTH IT!

It was great to spread the word of Recovery, raise awareness about the Addiction battle, and celebrate those who are winning the war against alcohol and drugs. Thanks to the Government of Saskatchewan and City of Regina for recognizing the importance of this movement.

Thanks also to all who attended and/or supported our Recovery Day Luncheon on September 19 featuring guest speaker Dr. Wendy Gore Hickman! For those new to the event, I know they were blown away.

That brings us to our next Recovery podcast guest.

Phil Andrews is the Voice of the WHL's Regina Pats and although just 29 years of age, he got into Recovery at the age of 18!

His road to Recovery has been a very rocky one and in this podcast interview, Phil bares all. It's not easy to do that, but it can certainly be therapeutic in a way. And although Phil isn't out beating the drum of sobriety or advertising his story, he's certainly not ashamed to tell his story if it'll help someone out.

True courage indeed.

Thanks to our Pedersen Recovery sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support in bringing you this show each month!

Now, here's Phil Andrews with his Recovery story:





Friday, October 12, 2018

MONTREAL GAZETTE: RIDERS' PEDERSEN GETS LIFE, CAREER BACK ON TRACK

The following story originally appeared in the Montreal Gazette's June 29/2018 edition, in the Inside The CFL feature, written by Hall of Fame writer Herb Zurkowsky:

REGINA — More than three years later, Rod Pedersen still tells the story when asked, almost as though it has become cathartic to relive his battle with alcoholism and the subsequent fight to become sober.

And each time the narrative becomes easier, each graphic detail of a life that was spiralling into self-destruction flowing more readily.

“They say when you can tell your story without crying, you’ve healed,” Pedersen said. “Most times, I can tell it without crying.”

Pedersen, 45, a big fish in a small pond, has been the radio voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 20 seasons, a broadcaster at Regina radio station CKRM since 1995. And he easily could have lost it all.

The native of Milestone, Sask., a farming community (pop. 640) 50 kilometres south of Regina, began drinking at age 16.

Perhaps Pedersen was bored living in such a small town. Or perhaps it was the peer pressure. Or perhaps he succumbed to a genetic predisposition. His father, Jim, also a recovering alcoholic, drank for 43 years until 1974, and warned his son the condition might be passed down.

“I knew it was a potential problem. It was causing problems in my life early on. I just wasn’t willing to look at them,” Pedersen said. “I was drinking until I blacked out, and that didn’t deter me. I could not quit. The idea of reaching out and asking for help never donned on me.

“I thank God I never tried drugs. I wouldn’t be sitting here, talking to you today. I’d be dead.”

Pedersen, once the voice of the junior hockey Prince Albert Raiders at age 20, never drank before or during a Riders broadcast — the sanctity of that job in Saskatchewan simply too important. But he also hosts a daily sports talk show that, at one point, was simultaneously sponsored by three breweries, all of which readily made their products available at the station. And it wasn’t uncommon for Pedersen to broadcast the show from banquets or sports bars.



“It (beer) was like a magic tonic to me. I literally couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “I wanted to drink to the point where I couldn’t move. I had it stashed all over the station. If I didn’t black out, I didn’t think I was drunk. The floor of my car vehicle was littered with beer cans. Shockingly, I didn’t think that was a problem.”

In summer 2014, Pedersen successfully auditioned for his dream job and was hired to become the radio voice of the Calgary Flames. And, when his drinking problem was discovered, quickly, he was removed from the position. That sent him into a deep depression — later diagnosed as anxiety disorder — and accelerated his drinking.

“If you thought I drank too much, just watch me. Now I’m going to drink more,” he remembered vowing.

The more he drank, the louder and more obnoxious he became. Once the life of the party, the funny guy with the one-liners, Pedersen quickly discovered none of his friends wanted to associate with him.

“That becomes the loneliest place in the world and, frankly, quite embarrassing,” he said.

Pedersen mixed anti-depressants with alcohol while on the job. He was frequently sent home from work and was forced by his employer to sign documents stating, were he drunk in public or at work, he would be terminated. Finally, in January 2015, drugs in his system and so drunk he was incoherent, Pedersen was suspended, told to enter a recovery program or he’d be fired.

“I gave them more than enough reasons to terminate me,” he said.

The first year of his recovery battle was the most difficult, Pedersen said, avoiding the temptation of reaching for a drink; the constant battle raging in his head between the good and bad voices, along with the craving for alcohol.

Pedersen will never say for certain the habit has been kicked. He wants to say it’s behind him, and believes that to be true. He proudly proclaims he vacationed at an all-inclusive Mexican resort last winter, not one drop of alcohol touching his palate despite the voice in his head arguing nobody would know if he had just one drink. What would it matter?

Pedersen continues to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings once a week. He attended classes in the U.S., received a diploma as an addiction-treatment specialist and coaches recovering alcoholics three or four times each week. He also works in conjunction with the Betty Ford Center.

Most importantly, on Saturday night, after the Riders-Alouettes broadcast concludes, Pedersen will go straight home where his wife since 2012, Cindy, will await.

“A lot of people didn’t think I could overcome this and win the battle,” Pedersen said proudly. “That was the fuel, to prove them wrong. It’s a happy story, and the world doesn’t have a lot of them.

“Don’t give up on yourself, because I did. Anybody can be saved.”

hzurkowsky@postmedia.com

http://montrealgazette.com/sports/football/cfl/inside-the-cfl-riders-radio-host-gets-his-life-career-back-on-track

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

PEDERSEN RECOVERY RODCAST: CRIS CARTER

Pro Football Hall of Famer and Person In Recovery Cris Carter is the debut guest on the inaugural edition of the Pedersen Recovery RODCAST with host Rod Pedersen.

The 8-time Pro Bowler and long-time ESPN and Fox NFL analyst gives a shockingly raw account of his history with Addictions and Mental Illness, and holds nothing back in this interview.

Carter answers with amazing candor and honesty:

- What's your Recovery story?

- What was life like before, and what's it like now?

- How do you deal with social pressures around drinking?

- What's your Self-Care regimen?

- What advice would you give the still-suffering Alcoholic or Addict?

- What advice would you give young people in the same position you were?

Listen to the show by clicking on the link below. If you have any suggestions for future podcast interviews, please email me or post in the Comment section!

For more information or sponsorship inquiries for Pedersen Recovery Inc., please email Director of Business Development Joe Gunnis at gunny@sasktel.net or Rod Pedersen at pedersenrecovery@aol.com. For more information on the Pedersen Recovery Right Place, Right Time Tour, click here.

Follow our Social Media links at:
Facebook: Pedersen Recovery Coaching Inc.
Twitter: @pedersenrecover
Instagram: @pedersenrecovery

The Pedersen Recovery RODCAST is produced by Jordan McRae. (@jmcraeradio)

LINK: https://soundcloud.com/ridervoice/pedersen-recovery-rodcast-ep-1-cris-carter

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

This is the most difficult thing I've ever written. In fact, I came to tears a few times while writing it but there's one reason and one reason only why I'm doing it: I know for a fact there are young people out there going through the same things I did years ago. If this piece strikes a chord with just one of them and it spurs them to go make a change in their life, then it will have been worthwhile.

Here goes:

Dear Rod,

Look at you right now. Just look at you.

When you look in the mirror each morning, I know you don't like the young man who's staring back at you very much, do you? It's okay. I've walked in those shoes and realize they're very uncomfortable. I know you don't like looking in the mirror at all.

You think everyone hates you but you're wrong. The fact is everyone who knows you, loves you. When you're not drinking.

Deep, deep down, reallllly deep down, you know that's true but you don't want to do anything about it.

From the very first time you drank as a teenager, you loved it and hated it all at the same time. But you couldn't get enough of it, and still can't. Even though you know it turns you into a monster.

Eventually it will completely take over your life and nothing else will matter. But that's years away and you've still got plenty of damage left to do before then.

Really, the only thing saving your sorry ass right now is your work ethic and your talent. But one day that luck is going to run out too, just like a cat and its nine lives.

I have to ask you - because nobody else will - what the hell is wrong with you?

When somebody close to you like your parents, your brothers, your wife, your bosses or a coach offers you some friendly advice which might save your life, you immediately do exactly the opposite of what they say?

When somebody pays you a compliment, why does it go in one ear and out the other but when some no-name on the internet says the most horrible things about you, you not only hang onto it for days but you actually believe it?

You're killing yourself inside each day and everybody can see it but you. Eventually that spirit that everybody once loved will be totally dead. Why do you keep refusing peoples' gifts of help?

And don't say no one has offered to help. If you go back and think about it, I bet you can count dozens, if not hundreds, of times you've been offered a hand or seen or heard an ad about the warning signs that you're drowning in every day.

You are literally one step away from completely turning your life around for the better, and yet you keep taking the wrong step time after time.

People look to you to lead, but you don't want to lead. When it's time to step up, you want to run and hide, and if it's to a 12-pack of beer, that suits you just fine.

Rod, you have the world by the tail but all you see is what you don't have rather than the incredible things that you DO have. You were born with every possible advantage.

I just don't get it! Will you please open your eyes and wake up?

You don't know it but you've been battling Anxiety Disorder since you were in elementary school. Those suicidal thoughts you've had are NOT normal. But that's okay, it can be fixed. You think you're crazy, but you're not. You have a serious mental illness. I just wish you'd tell somebody.

Guess what? One day you're going to be going on doctor-prescribed anti-Depressants too.

No shit you're depressed! You've taken a flamethrower to every relationship and friendship you have and caused possibly irreparable damage to your career! The pills aren't going to fix that.

But, pick your chin up.

I mean it.

Your family and bosses aren't going to give up on you even though you've long since given up on yourself. They know the smart, kindhearted person you are beneath all of these problems and they are NOT going to let you to go down in flames.

Every single thing in your life can be repaired and you'll save an immense amount of pain if you start doing it right now.

You are going to be strong. You are not going to be bothered by what people say because you'll know exactly who you are for the first time in your life. You're never going to have to look over your shoulder again because you're always going to be in the right place, at the right time.

Best of all, God has given you another unbelievable gift which is the ability to connect with those who are still struggling. You are in flames now, but you know the road to sunshine and you'll have the ability to pass that on to those who are still lost. Helping others will make your heart explode with pride, more than anything you've ever done.

All I ask is, please do it today. Time's wasting.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

MAILBAG: FIELDING QUESTIONS ON ALCOHOLISM & ADDICTIONS

It's been several months since I invited questions from blog readers on Alcoholism & Addiction, and did my best to provide answers. The last time proved to be a very worthwhile exercise as it shed plenty of light on what peoples' loved ones, or themselves, are battling with substance abuse. So after inviting more questions last week, here's my best swing at answering them:

1 - WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ALCOHOLIC OR ADDICTED?

This comes up a lot and I'm guessing it's because people want to know if the symptoms they're feeling are a sign that they have a serious problem.

The first thing that comes to mind when answering this question is that the person-in-question has a pre-occupation with alcohol and their current supply of it (or whatever substance they're hooked on). It's on their mind most of the time throughout the day. For example: planning when's the next time they can drink, what they'll drink, where they'll get it, perhaps how they'll hide it, how they'll get home, etc. Normally fun events like weddings, sporting events, fishing trips and family gatherings really just turn out to be an excuse to drink, and unfortunately that's generally where bad things happen.

When looking at this question, it wouldn't hurt to look up the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Some people abuse alcohol periodically which may cause problems on occasion while others depend on alcohol to cope with life. Big difference.

And, perhaps the best answer to this question is the definition of Addiction: When you want to quit using a substance but are unable to, even when it's causing problems in your life.

2 - YOU LOST A PARENT RECENTLY AND HAVE OTHER CURRENT FAMILY CRISES. ARE YOU IN DANGER OF RELAPSING?

As a recovering alcoholic, I'm always in danger of relapsing! But no. I've examined this and I think that after 1,284 days sober, I've realized that getting drunk won't help matters. In fact, it would just add a host of new problems and make me feel worse. I don't need it, and booze has ruined enough of my life already.

But what DOES worry me is that with these recent hardships, my mind has returned to my old way of thinking. That is: "What if I do this?", "What if I do that?", "Maybe I shouldn't be here, but I should be there!", "What are people thinking of me?", "Am I doing a good enough job?", "Should I be at work?", "Should I be at home?", "Am I disappointing my family?", etc. All those thoughts were flooding through my head, round and round, at warp speed, for days on end. That's the rampant and raging Anxiety I lived with my entire life, which alcohol would cure for a night (but isn't an option anymore).

This scares the hell out of me! However I now know to tell my wife, call a sober friend, talk to my counsellor (Rand Teed), my sober coach (Bob Marier), slip into meditation or go to a meeting. Once I do this, the panic evaporates in minutes and I can get on with living normally.

3 - WHAT DO YOU WITH THE PHYSICAL CRAVINGS FOR ALCOHOL OR DRUGS?

IN MY OPINION, Addiction is a mental illness and therefore those physical cravings are your mind tricking your body into believing you need the substance. This was explained very well in the seminar I participated in with the Hazelden Betty Ford Center.

It's not surprising this question came from a reader who's in his first year of sobriety. I had three such attacks in Year 1 of my Recovery (later described as "Anxiety/Panic Attacks") by my Addictions Counsellor.

Thank God I had a sober companion with me, or my wife, at those times or else I would've fallen mightily. That's why it's tough for a single person to stay on course in Year 1, so it's imperative they continue to reach out for help in the tough times. Don't isolate!

4 - DID YOU GO TO A TREATMENT CENTRE FOR YOUR RECOVERY?

No but I wish I had. I certainly qualified for it because I had a huge, huge problem with alcohol. However I had a variety of stupid excuses not to go, which turned out to all be unfounded. I thought rehab facilities were scary places (they're actually just the opposite), I didn't want to be a financial drain on my employer or family (however they actually were more-than-willing to pay if it got me better), and I was afraid of what going to treatment would do to my reputation (which, in reality, was already blown to pieces but I was completely unaware of that in my alcoholic fog).

My counsellor said I took the long way to Recovery (out-patient support group meetings and one-on-one counselling) but at least I got there eventually because I badly, badly wanted sobriety. However now after touring treatment centres across the country - meeting the friendly staff and talking to patients - I really wish I had gone. Oh well, no looking back.

5 - WAS IT EMBARRASSING TO FACE AN INTERVENTION?

No, because my whole life was an embarrassment at the time. It was sort of an "add it to the pile" mentality. My opinion of myself was very, very low. It's typical addict thinking, and it's one of the reasons why I hate the disease so much. It sabotages good people. In retrospect I suppose I should've been embarrassed by it, but at the time, I was not.

6 - WHY DOES A.A. WORK?

Because it's a group of like-minded individuals who have all faced the same battle in their lives, and are winning. Once you walk through the doors of a meeting, you immediately feel like you're at home. That's also one of the best things of going to meetings all over the continent; you don't feel like you're walking into a room full of strangers even if you're 3,000 miles from home.

And beyond that, as far as the mechanics of the association go, you'd have to go for yourself to find out. However suffice it to say that no one gets left behind and if you truly want to find sobriety, you will in AA. I've found the people who have the most success in Recovery are regular meeting attendees. Those who struggle to stay sober also struggle to go to meetings.

7 - WHAT PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE GET SOBER VERSUS RELAPSING?

That's an incredibly difficult question to answer and I've seen numbers published that range anywhere from 50% to 90%. That question came out of the crowd when I was speaking at the Oak Tree Place fundraiser in Moose Jaw this spring and I settled on this answer:

"If you keep trying to get sober, no matter the setbacks, you will eventually get it. However if you stop trying, I guarantee you will not."

8 - WHAT'S YOUR ROLE IN RECOVERY AND/OR WHAT'S PEDERSEN RECOVERY?

First and foremost I'm a Person in Recovery, saved from Alcohol Addiction on 01-27-2015. Secondly, I'm an Advocate for Recovery, spreading the message of hope but also fighting for funding in the War on Addiction. Thirdly, I'm working as a Sober Coach/Interventionist for individuals struggling with Addiction, no matter where they may be in the Arc of Recovery: active addiction//treatment//aftercare. Fourthly, we produce sober events which are family-friendly and are an effort to normalize sobriety rather than normalizing drinking and over-indulgence. Watch for one near you!

9 - WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF SOBER COACHING?

Obviously it's watching people take on their demons head-on and have success on a daily basis. Then, it's rewarding to see them get their lives back, their families, their jobs and everything they hold dear, but lost due to the Disease of Alcoholism/Addiction. I'm a highly competitive person - probably from my background in sports - and I actually enjoy the war against Addiction everyday. I don't like to lose, and don't plan to.

10 - DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE, MANTRA OR MISSION STATEMENT?

Yes. Two of them. 1) It's Never Too Late. Don't ever give up on yourself. I thought I was a lost cause, but thankfully there were a few people left who didn't give up on me. And 2) Anyone Can Be Saved. I've yet to come across someone who can't achieve sobriety if they truly want to. I refuse to give up on anyone. As Dr. Phil says, "I will never surrender to the disease."

RP
@PedersenRecovery

Saturday, October 6, 2018

PEDERSEN RECOVERY RODCAST: SCOTT OAKE


"If you fight against Addiction daily and are successful, I think that makes you a hero."

- Scott Oake

The star of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada Scott Oake tells his family's Recovery story on the latest Pedersen Recovery Rodcast.

Oake's son Bruce died of a drug overdose in 2011 in Winnipeg and while the Oake family will always struggle with that loss, they are working hard to ensure Bruce's death wasn't in vain.

In this month's podcast Scott talks about what got Bruce on the wrong path, how he struggled even in Recovery, the stigma facing both active and recovering addicts, and what the family is doing to attack the Addiction Crisis in Winnipeg.

A huge thank you to our sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs for bringing you another edition of the podcast, and for sponsoring my speaking tour on Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery.

The next stop on the tour is Saturday, May 12 at the fundraising gala for the Oak Tree Place centre in Moose Jaw. We'll be raising funds for the opening of the facility and the speakers are Billy Cuthbert and me. For tickets email jody.oakes@sasktel.net.

Please give the podcast a listen here:

Friday, October 5, 2018

TOP 10 BEST THINGS OF A SOBER LIFE

Nine times out of 10 when someone I meet learns that I no longer drink (1187 days as of this writing), they say, "Boy it must be great not having to deal with hangovers!"

Of course it is, but in truth that's about the 10th best thing I've discovered from leading a sober life. So for this week's blog post, here are my Top 10 Best Things of My Sober Life after hitting rock bottom on January 26, 2015:

1 - NO FEAR: The rest of these points really are in no particular order but this is my clearcut #1. Why? Because imagine being paralyzed by fear so much that you're afraid to look at your phone, you shudder in a cold sweat each and every time a text or call comes in because you assume you're in trouble for something you did or said while drinking (and most times you don't even remember doing it). Imagine having to tiptoe around your boss's office to avoid his angry glare for your drunken antics, or constantly worry about "who's talking to who" about the drama you created about yourself.

Now, all of that is gone and that's the biggest relief in the world.

2 - EXPERIENCING LIFE: A week long trip to Mexico seems like two weeks, or a 2-day road trip seems like a 4-day adventure because you're not drunk half the time and hungover in bed for the other half. Somebody just asked me this week how I handle so much life on the road without drinking and he said "What's life like?" Well, it was exhilarating to be sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Toronto at 7:00 am last Saturday when Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter walked in. The old me would've still been in bed sleeping it off. On this morning, Carter and I chatted, took a photo, and I soon learned he's in long-term Recovery too. That's one of hundreds of examples of how nice it is to be "with it", and finally enjoying the real side of life rather than getting loaded in a dingy bar.

3 - FREEDOM: It's a real thing. Not having to take the long way around a checkstop never gets old, and it's empowering to drive by a cop and look him in the eye. This may seem elementary to you if you're not an alcoholic, but hardcore drinkers will nod their heads like a bobblehead when they read this. Above all else, it's nice to be able to rent a car on so many of our trips and know Blood Alcohol Level won't be a problem. Travelling across borders is effortless and free. Sober living is win, win, win.

4 - TRUST: This has to rank up near the top, and it's wide-ranging. But the big one is the security that my wife and family feels about me now when I'm off on my own. There are no worries that I'll get into trouble or injure myself. A scrape on my shin or hands is easily explained - and believed - rather than the elaborate lies I had to cook up in my old life. That was exhausting. Now it's all gone. My family knows I'll be doing the right thing, all the time, when I'm gone or when they're gone.


Photo by Larry Mueller
5 - FINANCES: This shouldn't be surprising, but it's bigger than you think. It's one thing to ring up high bar tabs for yourself and buy the whole tavern drinks just so you have somebody to drink with (pathetic I know, but it was a regular occurrence). But what about this: lost sunglasses, cell phones, VEHICLES, and every other material possession you could think of. It didn't take very long into Recovery for me to see my bank account go up, up, and up. In fact, I bought a Jeep this summer with money I've saved in sobriety and it's a reward I realize every day.

6 - RESPECT AND SELF-RESPECT: Did you know the most important things on this earth, you can't buy? (Love, respect, trust, dignity, health). I'm literally years into Recovery and still digging myself out of the 25-year hole I created while wallowing in the disease of Alcoholism. It's a day-by-day effort to restore respect and dignity and it only comes by proving yourself every 24 hours (hence our favourite saying, One Day At A Time). However the days stack up into weeks, months and years and I've met a lot of new people who have no idea about my past. They say I'm a nice, respectable, admirable person and some even call me Mr. Pedersen. I never thought getting to this point would ever be possible. Again, what a reward for sobriety.

On the flipside, as an addict you allow people to treat you like garbage because you think you are garbage. Because of your dirty little secret, you don't think you can have nice things. However once that secret is out in the open and dealt with, life becomes a whole new world. Put it this way: if you mistreat me now, you'd better be prepared for a fight.

7 - CLEAR MIND: They call it the "Alcoholic Fog" and it too is a thing. Booze really takes over your brain and clouds all of your thinking. That, I feel, is why 90 days in Recovery is a real milestone because by that point, you should be coming out of the fog, detangling your mind, feeling 100% better physically, and realizing a sober life is the ONLY option for an alcoholic. There were times on my radio show where my mind would just "freeze" because of my drinking and I literally could not think. That is not optimum on live radio. It was absolutely horrible.

One day last year I was sitting on the patio of a coffee house in Phoenix and looked up at the blue, cloudless sky. I thought to myself, "My mind is as clear as that Arizona sky." What a feeling!

8 - MY HEALTH: You would think this would be higher on the list, and perhaps it should be. When I got into Recovery everyone kept saying, "You're sick!" and "You're not well!" What on earth were they talking about? I was in the gym at least an hour everyday. But it was the shock of my life when my doctor said I'd be dead in a year the way I was going if I didn't change my life, pronto. Someone told me last week that I look 10 years younger. My skin is fresh and that's likely because I sleep like a baby. ("A clean conscience is the softest pillow" - John Wooden). I am preparing for a long and happy life rather than wishing I was dead, which I did just a few years ago.

9 - NOT FEELING LOST: This kind of spills into my Anxiety Disorder but it's another real thing. As an alcoholic you feel like you're on an island - except for your drinking buddies - but when you get into Recovery you meet dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people who are just like you. That's a nice feeling. And by keeping a daily journal you plant your feet on the ground rather than waving around in the wind like a balloon. I got started in this by my accountant who wanted me to track my mileage on a daily basis. Soon I was writing down who I talk with daily, where I went for lunch, family events, etc. Basically, it feels like you have your shit together for the first time in your life.

10 - NO HANGOVERS: So, yes, not having hangovers is a pretty wonderful way to go through life but it doesn't really compare to the nine other points above. Plus, when you drink as much as an alcoholic does, hangovers aren't really that bad. I see people who go on benders once or twice every year and sometimes wonder, "Why can't I do that?" However I quickly realize that I was doing it every weekend or sometimes multiple times per week. It was completely ruining my life and I'm grateful every minute of every day that I found the road out.

* If you have a serious problem with alcohol (if it's causing problems in your life), then it's imperative that you seek help. If it's deemed that you suffer from Alcoholism, then drinking can no longer be part of your life.

Hopefully this week's blog shows you what the upside of that is. It's ALL positive.

RP
Twitter: @pedersenrecover
IG: @pedersenrecovery
FB: Pedersen Recovery & Coaching Inc.

SC: Pedersenmedia

Thursday, October 4, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: TSN'S MICHAEL LANDSBERG

I have to say I'm tremendously excited for you to hear this month's Recovery podcast interview because I think it's going to help A LOT of people.

National sports broadcaster and Mental Health advocate Michael Landsberg is our latest guest on the Pedersen Recovery Rodcast for Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs!

The award-winning broadcaster and host of TSN's Off The Record is a household name in Canada but has only recently hit the speaking trail telling his story about his struggles with Mental Illness.

Specifically, Landsberg suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and depression which are a bitch. (In case you didn't know).  You'll learn from this interview that Landsberg knows all the ins and outs of Mental Health struggles, and is now a huge supporter for mental health awareness, popularizing the hashtag #sicknotweak in tribute to his mental illness.

Michael and I first crossed paths in the fall of 2008 when I was a guest on Off The Record in Toronto and, to put it bluntly, it didn't go well. The two of us failed to "click" and it made for an awkward episode which would never be destined for the Best Of file.

I later discovered that I had an experienced an anxiety blackout during the show and barely remember much of it.

Fast forward to now, and Michael Landsberg and I are both on the other side of our demons and are out campaigning across the country trying to help others.

I'm super proud to say that we're on the same team.

If you're battling Mental Illness, this month's interview should help a great deal. If you're struggling with something but can't quite figure out what it is, then this episode is a must-listen. It may trigger something in you to go get the help that you need.

A huge shoutout goes to our sponsors Fine Foods, Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for continuing to sponsor Pedersen Recovery Inc. and bring you this podcast on a regular basis.

Now, let's hear from Michael Landsberg:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

THE NEXT STEP IN MY RECOVERY

Another milestone in my sobriety.

On the weekend of May 5/2018 I found myself in a conference room in Times Square in New York, NY receiving training from renowned Interventionist Earl Hightower of Hightower Associates. He's a pioneer in the industry, having done roughly 2,000 interventions over the past 35 years.

How did I end up there? Well, fairly early on in my journey of sobriety (Sober Date 01-27-2015) some of the titans of the Recovery industry put their arm around me and said "Come with us". I'm so grateful they did. They've opened up so many doors that I didn't even know existed. One of those doors was Intervention training and the notion was, "You're going to need this training so you might as well get it from the best. His name is Earl Hightower."

What did I learn? Well, I didn't spend thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles just to divulge all the information here for free. Suffice it to say it was 3 days of pretty intense training with a lot of time spent on ethics. I took many things away from the weekend but one stands out above the rest and that is Earl standing in the middle of the room with his index finger pointed. "Don't lie, and don't bluff," he warned.

Earl and me
A warm wave came over me at that moment because I'm not comfortable doing either of those things, yet they're a hallmark of the world I currently live in.

It's also why I turned down a recent offer to get into politics. I was told that as a politician you need to "be able to look in someone's face and lie". No thanks. That notion makes me want to puke.

In fact one lady at the training told me, "You're at home now". The room was filled with all walks of Recovery life including addictions counselors, psychotherapists, treatment center residential managers, intake specialists, sober coaches and sober companions and even the owner/producer of Intervention TV, Andrew Galloway. (That show, by the way, gets 2.1-million viewers a week on A&E. He bought me a steak supper).

I was anxious going in because I didn't know if I'd fit in but I quickly felt like a kid going to summer camp. I couldn't wait to see everybody each morning and didn't want to leave at the end of the day.

So, I'm a trained Interventionist but who knows when I'll do my first one. I have a little experience in the area since I was the target of an Intervention on January 28/2015 so I know the drill. Who knew that painful experience would pay such dividends just a few years later?

Less than 24 hours after returning home from New York, I was getting messages from treatment centers and sober living houses wondering when they'll start getting referrals. The first step is touring their facilities and meeting face-to-face, which I'm already doing.

I thought I lived in a fast-paced environment of Sports & Entertainment but that looks like it's in slow motion compared to the Addiction world, which is currently in a crisis. When someone needs help, they need it NOW! And we move at the speed of light.

The whole idea is getting people help, and saving lives.

These people don't care that I'm the broadcaster for a CFL team and only have a few years sobriety. "That's good enough! We need your help. We're in a crisis that's growing!"

That's a rush.

This experience will be part of my keynote address at the fundraising gala for the Oak Tree Place community centre in Moose Jaw, SK on Saturday night. I'll be sharing my Recovery story for those in attendance and raising funds for Oak Tree, which will be a safe place in Moose Jaw for those battling Addiction.

Honestly I'd prefer to just move on from that dreadful period of my life just over three years ago when doctors told me I'd be dead in less than a year if I didn't stop drinking immediately. But now people want to know how I've been able to do it, and I'm more than happy to share if it helps someone.

For tickets please email Jody Oakes at jody.oakes@sasktel.net.

Thanks to gala sponsors Sask Power, Hill St. Beverage Co., Fraser Strategy, Outlaw Communications, Clark's Supply & Service, Fine Foods and EMJ Marketing. Thanks also to CKRM Radio, CTV and Global TV for their promotion of the event.

One Day At A Time,
RP
TW: @pedersenrecover
IG: @pedersenrecovery

Sunday, September 16, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: NHL GREAT CHICO RESCH

September is Recovery Month in Saskatchewan where we celebrate people in Recovery from Alcoholism & Addiction. On our latest Recovery Podcast, we interview NHL great Glenn "Chico" Resch. Chico is a Saskatchewan product, who was born in Moose Jaw and raised in Regina.

Resch spent 14 seasons in the National Hockey League as a goaltender with the New York Islanders, Colorado Rockies, New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. He also won a Stanley Cup while with New York.

These days, Chico is a broadcaster with the New Jersey Devils and also a key figure with Hockey Ministries International. While at the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina, Chico and Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer spoke at the HMI Breakfast. At the soldout event, Resch shared his personal Faith story and also how he turned his life around by turning his back on alcohol.

This interview should be mandatory-listening for young athletes as well as their coaches, managers and parents as Chico and I discuss peer pressure within a locker room, and how easy it is to go down the wrong road like we did.

It's possible to turn your life around before it's too late.

Thanks to Pedersen Recovery sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of our efforts including this podcast, sober coaching, interventions, public speaking and sober events.

Listen to our latest podcast here:
Don't forget the 6th Annual Recovery Day luncheon is this Wednesday, September 19 featuring guest speaker Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman and me as the MC.

Thanks for listening!
RP
@pedersenrecovery




Saturday, September 1, 2018

ADDICTION RECOVERY PODCAST: LAST DOOR'S DAVE PAVLUS

September has been proclaimed "Recovery Month" in the Province of Saskatchewan and in honour of that, we're going to have a series of special Recovery interviews here on the podcast.

In addition, Wednesday, September 19 as been designated "Recovery Day" by the City of Regina and that's when we're holding our 6th annual Recovery Day Luncheon featuring guest speaker Dr. Wendy Gore-Hickman and me as the Master of Ceremonies. For tickets, email reginarecoveryday@gmail.com.

Our first Recovery interview of September is with Dave Pavlus, the owner/operator of the Last Door Recovery Society for men in New Westminster, BC (27 km from downtown Vancouver).

Dave's Recovery story will knock your socks off, and is the first podcast interview in which I'll invoke a *LANGUAGE DISCLAIMER*.  Dave P. goes hardcore, old school while telling his Recovery story and it's what you probably need to hear. I suppose I've become somewhat de-sensitized to this stuff but when I played the interview for my wife, she almost covered her ears. THIS IS REAL!

Obviously, if you're following this podcast, you must be affected by addictions in some way. Dave has seen the ugliness of Alcoholism and Addiction from all sides and gave me a fresh perspective on the topic.

Thanks to sponsors Fine Foods, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs for their continued support of Pedersen Recovery. Their generousity makes all of the things possible that we do including this podcast, sober coaching, interventions, public speaking and sober events.

So, to kick off Recovery Month with a BANG, here is the Last Door's Dave Pavlus:






Saturday, August 4, 2018

PEDERSEN RECOVERY RODCAST: CLINT MALARCHUK

We're back for Round 2 of the Pedersen Recovery Rodcast!

As we continue to bring together the worlds of Recovery and professional sports, we chat on this episode with All Star NHL goaltender Clint Malarchuk.

We're also proud to announce the Rodcast is sponsored by Fine Foods and Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport! To perform like a Pro you need to recover like a Pro.

Clint Malarchuk is a product of Grande Prairie, Alberta and played in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks before being drafted in the 7th Round of the NHL Draft by the Quebec Nordiques.
Clint was in the NHL between 1981-1992 with the Nordiques, Sabres and Capitals and was named an NHL All-Star.

He also was the victim of one of the most tragic events in NHL history when his throat was slashed by an opponent's skate and he nearly bled to death at the Auditorium in Buffalo. That was one of many traumatic events Clint has experienced in his life and he turned to alcohol to "self-medicate" with disastrous consequences.

Clint also wrote the book The Crazy Game in which he tells stories from the crease but also of his lifelong battle with Mental Illness.

Listen to Clint's interview here, and hopefully you find some inspiration like I did from Clint's story!


Rod & Clint at Recovery Day Regina

Thursday, June 21, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: SKIDROW CEO JOE ROBERTS


OTTAWA - This month's Pedersen Recovery Rodcast comes to you from the Nation's Capital.

As I'm learning quickly, Recovery is a small world. Multi-millionaire businessman Joe Roberts is known as the "Skidrow CEO" and his Recovery story is one of legend. The 51-year old was a homeless, drug-addicted teen in Vancouver but after getting sober in his early-20's, he became the President & CEO of a Fortune 500 company in less than a decade.

And then he relapsed. He went from living in a 4,500-sq foot home overlooking downtown Vancouver to living in a van. Joe had to rebuild himself all over again, and he did.

In the spring of 2017, Joe came through Regina as part of his cross-Canada tour raising awareness and funds for youth homelessness. He literally pushed a shopping cart from Newfoundland to Vancouver, symbolic of what he lived out of as a teen.

During that stop in Regina, Joe asked me to join him out on the TransCanada Highway.

So I did. And we connected. The photo above is evidence of that.

So during a work trip to Ottawa this week, I happened to learn that Joe Roberts was speaking at a convention at The Westin Ottawa.

I went and tracked Joe and his wife Maria down at the Shaw Convention Centre during his pre-event soundcheck and we caught up.

And, as luck would have it, the Skidrow CEO sat down to share his inspiring personal story with our podcast.

As always, we are brought to you by Pedersen Recovery Inc. sponsors Fine Foods, Saputo Dairy's Milk2Go Sport Pro and C.J. Evans Home Designs. I encourage you to click on their ads and try them out. I'm so grateful for their sponsorship.

Now, to this month's podcast with Joe Roberts:

ADDICTION EXPLAINED

Addiction, unfortunately, is sweeping the continent and destroying families, careers and lives at a record pace. It's hard to imagine any individual, or family, who isn't affected by Addiction in some form or another.

If you have a loved one, employee or friend who's battling Addiction and their actions baffle you, keep reading.

If you yourself are in the grips of Addiction and want to find a way out, then definitely keep reading.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Carrie Kappel (Associate Director, Health Care Professionals Program) gave an hour-long presentation via webinar on Wednesday entitled Addiction: Part Art, Part Science.

I was invited to participate in the event as a partner of the Betty Ford Center. The Foundation regularly sends me their research studies for use in my own presentations (teenage marijuana usage, prevalence of substance abuse among military vets, intervention techniques, etc.).

Ms. Kappel's address was clear, concise, and explained the Disease of Addiction in easy-to-understand terms. As someone who's successfully battled Addiction and is now striving to help others find the road to Recovery, I found the talk very worthwhile.

Here are some key points from the session:

- Addiction is a brain disease.

- Addiction is treatable.

- Up to 70% of Addictions patients at Betty Ford Centers have other Mental Illnesses besides Addiction but those abate over time and the patients learn coping skills in treatment to manage them.

- Addiction is not a moral or ethical problem although the behaviours of the alcoholics/addicts raise questions about morality. "Why are they drinking again?", "Why are they using again?"

- Addiction is not a personality disorder and it is not a choice. The only choice is the initial choice to drink or use. After a period of time, the body begins to drive the choices they make. The brain gets "highjacked" by the body's physical needs.

- Addiction is not the same as casual use. It's a compulsion to use the alcohol even if the brain doesn't want to. We often hear "I don't remember why I made the decision to drink".

- Intoxification is a reward circuitry disease in the central regions of the brain. It causes surges of dopamine. Dopamine is our "feel good" transmitter which drives the bus. All drugs of abuse enhance the release of dopamine.

- People know their actions are wrong but they are driven by their bodies to get the drug or alchohol. That's why they steal, continually drink and drive, or leave their children alone. It is out of their control.

- The decisions made by people with the Disease of Addiction don't make sense to other people. Once they get into treatment, they begin to see their problem from other peoples' perspective and how their disease has affected them.

- In treatment they learn coping skills and tools to continually battle the disease for years to come.

- Benzos intoxification is very similar to alchohol. Benzos are benzodiazepine medications. These drugs are referred to as benzos and are widely prescribed for a variety of medical and mental health concerns. Xanax was the mostly widely prescribed psychiatric medication from 2005 to 2013. Benzos have hypnotic, muscle-relaxant, or anticonvulsant properties. They can provide anxiety relief.

- Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. They come in tablets, capsules or liquid.

- Opioids contributed to 40,000 deaths in the USA in 2016. That led to changes in how opioids are prescribed.

- Methodone is a full opioid agonist meaning it binds to the dopamine receptors. It can reduce cravings and improve treatment retention. It can decrease criminal activity because addicts aren't stealing to fund their addiction to opiods. Methodone is taken on a long-term basis.

- Opioid withdrawal can feel terrible to the patient but rarely has serious consequences, and is rarely lethal. It can feel like having the flu times 10, but the withdrawal symptoms aren't permanent.

*Hopefully this blog post helps people understand the Disease of Addiction a little more fully!

RP
Twitter: @pedersenrecover
Instagram: @pedersenrecovery
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pedersenrecovery/

Thursday, June 7, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: INTERVENTION TV'S ANDREW GALLOWAY

In the latest Pedersen Recovery Rodcast, we're taking a detour from our usual theme of having sports figures share their Recovery stories.

On this program I'm joined by Mr. Andrew Galloway, a professional Interventionist from the television program Intervention TV Canada which airs on Slice and in the United States on A&E.

Andrew is the former National Director of the Edgewood Health Network, is the co-owner of Hired Sobriety along with Bob Marier, and also works as an Addictions Counselor in Toronto.

Simply put, he's a heavyweight in the Recovery community in Canada.

We met at Intervention Training in New York City in May, put on by Earl Hightower of Hightower Associates. We became fast friends, and Andrew offered to be a guest on our podcast!

On this show Andrew will share his personal Recovery story, and we'll get a behind-the-scenes look at Intervention TV. We'll also explore how Interventions are changing the face of Recovery in North America, and how you can get help for someone struggling with Addictions and Alcoholism.

We'd like to thank Pedersen Recovery Inc. sponsors Milk2Go Sport Pro, Fine Foods and C.J. Evans Home Designs for their continued support of our Recovery efforts!

You can listen to the show here:





Tuesday, June 5, 2018

RECOVERY PODCAST: RADIO ANNOUNCER MARK JOHNSTON

We're going local on this month's edition of the Pedersen Recovery Rodcast!

Regina radio personality Mark Johnston is making big waves across the province with his fun on-air persona and carefree approach to life. However his life wasn't always this way.

The 28-year old Regina product - and former junior hockey player - saw his life spiral to the bottom due to a battle with alcohol and drugs.

In this month's Recovery podcast, Mark takes us on his remarkable journey detailing his drinking career, introduction to drugs, his life-changing decision to enter Recovery and what his life's like now.

We also delve into some issues we've never covered on this show before like why he made the decision to go public with his story, and, how a sober person celebrates important milestones in life whether they be in Recovery or otherwise.

Pedersen Recovery Inc. is sponsored by Fine Foods Grocery Stores, Milk2Go Sport and CJ Evans Home Designs and their generous support makes all of our services possible including interventions, this podcast, public speaking and one-on-one coaching for those struggling with addictions.

I think you'll love our interview with Mark! Click below:





RECOVERY PODCAST: VOICE OF THE PATS PHIL ANDREWS

Welcome to October! Recovery Month in September is behind us but as you hopefully all know by now, the Recovery beat goes on. It's a...